The Eastern Question

November 20, 2015

In the weeks after 9/11, self-described “scholar-printer” Ted Danforth struggled to understand why the attacks occurred. He found his first clue in Osama bin Laden’s statement that the attacks were revenge for the Ottoman Empire’s dismemberment after World War I and Islam’s subsequent humiliation at the hands of the West. That statement led Danforth to […]

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Reading My Way Through Roman Britain, Part 3

September 15, 2015

British journalist Charlotte Higgins (It’s All Greek To Me) was always fascinated by the classical world, but that fascination didn’t extend to Roman Britain. She thought of Britain as an unglamorous outpost on the edge of the Roman Empire–an opinion shared by most Romans of the time-. A visit to Hadrian’s Wall changed her mind. […]

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Reading My Way Through Roman Britain, Part 2

September 11, 2015

Guy de la Bédoyère’s The Real Lives Of Roman Britain: A History of Roman Britain Through The Lives of Those Who Were There is not a narrative history of Roman Britain. (De la Bédoyère has already written several versions of that narrative.) It is instead an attempt to look at the 360 years of Roman […]

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Death in Florence

September 4, 2015

My first encounter with Girolamo Savonarola’s attempt to scourge Florence of religious corruption was George Eliot’s historical novel Romola, which I read in tiny bites as a distraction from historical history during my first year of graduate school. It was lush, dramatic, and exactly what I needed as I struggled with semiotics, deconstructionism, post-colonial theory, […]

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Independence Lost:

August 28, 2015

Those of you who’ve been hanging out in the Margins for a while now know there are some types of history books that can be counted on to make me say “I want to read this”: Books that tell a story we think we know from a radically different persepctive Books that deal with people […]

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In Search of Sir Thomas Browne

August 4, 2015

There are times when the book I read isn’t the book I think it’s going to be.* This happened to me recently with science writer Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ In Search of Sir Thomas Browne. I expected a biography. And I had Browne confused with someone else altogether, though I am no longer sure who. Possibly Robert […]

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Rival Queens

July 31, 2015

Nancy Goldstone has made a career of telling the often forgotten and always dramatic stories of powerful women in medieval Europe.*  In The Rival Queens: Catherine de’Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal That Ignited a Kingdom, Goldstone turns her attention to Renaissance France and its role in the growing struggle between Catholics […]

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From The Archives: Squeeze This!

July 28, 2015

I know it’s hard to believe, but even history bloggers sometimes think about something other than history.  We knit, canoe, wrestle bears, feed people, drink whiskey, and play with the cat.* Whenever we get the chance, My Own True Love and I pull on our dancing shoes and two-step and waltz to a Cajun band. […]

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Song of the Vikings

July 21, 2015

As I’ve mentioned before, My Own True Love and I are in countdown mode for a history nerd trip to Iceland.  As a result, my head is full of Vikings. * We’re going on a tour based on Nancy Marie Brown’s excellent Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths.  The heart […]

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Here There Be –Sea Monsters?

July 11, 2015

My Own True Love and I are in countdown mode for a trip to Iceland.  You can expect future posts to be full of Vikings and other things Nordic.  Here’s a little something to get us all in the mood: In 1539, Swedish mapmaker Olaus Magnus produced what was then the most detailed map of […]

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